Starting university

Going to university can be a massive change. It can be hard to meet people and adjust to new ways of doing things. Assessments can be daunting and confusing at first. There are things you can to do make it easier, and ensure a fun uni experience. Don't forget that changing courses is possible as well.

This could be for you if you:

  • Are going to uni, or considering going 
  • Are in first year, and want to know how things work 
  • Want know how to meet other uni students 
  • Are confused or daunted by assessments 
  • Need help with course work
guy listening to music on laptop

I'm going to university

Congratulations! Heading to university, whether you're straight out of high school or taking the scenic route, is a pretty exciting and possibly terrifying time. You could be looking at huge changes in your day-to-day life, and it can be rough if you don't know many people.

Help! Who are all these people?

If you're straight from year 12, the first things you'll notice is that your lecture groups (especially in first year) are at least ten times bigger than your old classes. It's not nearly as personal, and that makes it more difficult to turn classmates into mates. If you're struggling to make connections, try:

  • Clubs and societies. There's clubs for everything from astronomy to mountain-climbing to brewing. They're places to meet people who are into the same stuff as you.
  • Tutes. Tutorial or lab groups are usually smaller than lectures, and you can get a chance to chat with people here 
  • O-Week activities. There are a whole lot of people who're new here, so meet up with them in the week before session starts and get to know a few .
  • PASS – Peer-assisted study sessions let you get help with coursework at the same time as getting to know people studying in your area.
For more tips, see our  'Meeting new people' fact sheet.


University can be great fun, but things get stressful pretty quick if you're not passing subjects. Coming from high school, the assessments (especially big exams) can seem massively daunting, but if you plan it right, it's totally doable. Here's some tips to help you pass:

  • Talk to your classmates about the course. Not only do you get to meet people, you can nut out assessments together.
  • Connect with your lecturer or tutor. Whether it's in-person or over the 'net, they're there to help you pass, so use them! 
  • Chat with people who've done the class before to find out what kind of exam to expect.
  • If you need help with certain tasks, hit up the study skills centre to get up to speed .
  • Try not to get too distracted by party-life. Unis and TAFEs are great places to find people who love to cut loose, but you'll need to keep a handle on your work to do well.

Changing Courses

Maybe you're studying one thing, but angling to get into another course. Or something that sounded fascinating turned out to be as fun as gargling wet cement. There are options to transfer between courses. A couple of pointers:

  • Keep an eye on deadlines – if you let the FEE-HELP deadline go past, you'll have to pay for the subject even if you don't complete it. If you let the academic census date pass you by, you might not be able to stop a subject without failing.
  • Talk to course, subject and unit co-ordinators about what marks you'll need (or forms you'll have to fill in) to move from one course to another.

What can I do now?

  • Get involved in O-week, it’s a great time to make friends.
  • Most uni’s have classes about how to adjust to uni life, see if you can take one.
  • Talk to your tutor if you’re having trouble with the course load.